Tokyo is a huge, lively and vibrant metropolis covering an area of over 2,000 square kilometres that includes mountains to the west and subtropical islands to the south. Tokyo is over 400 years old originally starting out as a castle town called Edo. It soon became the political and administrative capital of Japan and now is a fantastic mixture of futuristic skyscrapers, neon lights, fashionable shops, museums, shrines, temples and parks. Much of your experience of Japan will best be absorbed by wandering the streets, peering into shops, discovering ancient buildings and relaxing in Japan’s tranquil parks.
Staying in Tokyo
We recommend you stay in the Hostel Tokyo Central
18th Floor, Central Plaza
Phone: .+81 3 3235 1107
More hostel information, photos, rates and availability: Hostel Tokyo Central
Make your reservation online or view other hostels in Tokyo here: Tokyo Hostels
To find out more about HI Hostels in the Japan visit Hostelling International’s website or click here: Japan Hostels
Things to do and see in Tokyo
Tokyo has a huge array of attractions for visitors, enough to keep you busy for many weeks. However, there are a few that should be high up on your sightseeing list. The Temples of Asakusa lie within one of Tokyo’s few districts that still preserves an atmosphere Tokyo’s past. Entrance to the temples is best through the impressive entrance gates, especially the 1000 year old Kaminarimon (Kaminari Gate) that leads straight on to Sensōji – Tokyo’s largest and oldest Buddhist temple built in the 7th century. If you visit on the third weekend in May, you’ll be treated to Sanja Matsuri, Tokyo's largest festival and the last Saturday of August is Asakusa Samba Carnival and one of Tokyo’s biggest parties of the year for locals.
At the centre of Tokyo, and many consider the centre of Japan itself, can be found Tokyo’s Chiyada. For such a small area, no more than 12 square kilometres, you will find some of the best attractions in the whole of Japan. The Imperial Palace sits on the site of the former Edo Castle and is the official residence of the Japanese Imperial family. Only on January 2nd and December 23rd are visitors allowed to enter the inner palace gardens and buildings. The square kilometre the palace sits on is reputedly the most expensive in the world. The Imperial Palace East Gardens are impeccable and incredibly beautiful especially during spring (not open Mondays and Fridays). This is also the best time to visit Chidoriga-fuchi Moat, one of the best places to experience Japan’s cherry blossom trees.
Tokyo also has many great museums, impressive skyscrapers, trendy shops, tranquil parks and even a thriving Disney Resort. Tokyo is one of the busiest cities in the world so it is worth planning your sightseeing list in advance to get the most of your visit to this fascinating city.
Eating out & nightlife in Tokyo
You won’t be short of finding an eating establishment in Tokyo … you’ll simply see them everywhere, from street sellers, department stores, restaurants, bars, hotels and hostels. Sushi originates from Tokyo and this is one of the best places to try it if you haven’t already. If you’re looking to eat out in a restaurant, then there are a few Japanese Table Manners (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2005.html) you should be aware of to ensure you don’t receive any disapproving looks from fellow guests!
Getting around in Tokyo
It should come as no surprise that Tokyo has one of the cleanest, safest and most efficient mass transit systems in the world. The transport system is a good choice at any times other than during rush hour. If possible, walking would be a good option over the transport system just for the chance to see more of Japan and it is an incredibly safe city to walk in, even at night.
Foto-Copyright: Flickr, Kamikaze Stoat: Kaminarimon, specific rights reserved